Alabama White BBQ Sauce

Alabama white sauce
Alabama white barbecue sauce.

The Spruce

  • Total: 30 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 10 mins
  • Servings: 28 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
112 Calories
12g Fat
1g Carbs
0g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 28
Amount per serving
Calories 112
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 12g 15%
Saturated Fat 2g 9%
Cholesterol 7mg 2%
Sodium 184mg 8%
Total Carbohydrate 1g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Protein 0g
Calcium 8mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This traditional Alabama white barbecue sauce is unlike any other barbecue sauce you might be familiar with. First of all, it's white, rather than red, and not made with a tomato or fruit base, but mayonnaise instead.

It's creamy, tangy, peppery, and slightly sweet if sugar is added with a rich flavor that is a great addition to most grilled foods but especially chicken, turkey, smoked pork, and grilled fish.

Just like a red sauce, this white sauce can be used to marinate or grill, or as a table sauce. But it has a leg up on the red stuff because white sauce makes a great dip, salad dressing, baked potato top, and even a binding agent for coleslaw and potato salad.

As with many barbecue sauces, you want to apply this only at the very end of your grilling or smoking, especially if you add sugar to the basic ingredients. Not only will it break down and separate if it is heated too long, but the sugar will burn instead of becoming nicely caramelized. 


  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon black pepper (coarsely ground, to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Optional: 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Optional: 2 teaspoons horseradish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Gather the ingredients
    Ingredients for Alabama white barbecue sauce. The Spruce 
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, cider vinegar, and lemon juice until creamy and smooth. If you do not want the sauce quite as tart, use half the amount of apple cider vinegar.

    Whisk ingredients
    Whisk together mayonnaise, cider vinegar, and lemon juice. The Spruce
  3. Stir in black pepper, salt, cayenne pepper, and optional garlic, mustard, sugar, and horseradish. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using. 

    Stir in spices
    Stir in black pepper, salt, cayenne pepper, and optional garlic, mustard, sugar, and horseradish. The Spruce
  4. Brush lightly over chicken, turkey, or pork during the last few minutes of grilling. Since this sauce also is great as a dipping sauce to serve at the table, set some aside before you start grilling the meat.

    Brush sauce on chicken
    Brush sauce over chicken, turkey, or pork. The Spruce 
  5. The unused sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.

Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

To make a great sandwich, place pulled chicken in a large bowl and mix with Alabama white barbecue sauce, tossing gently to coat. Serve immediately on bread or buns of your choice.

White Barbecue Sauce History

Bob Gibson, of Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q in Decatur, Alabama, is credited with creating white barbecue sauce in 1925.

The white sauce was never really intended to accompany meats like beef brisket. Instead, it was meant to accompany chicken and turkey and to be used as a finishing sauce rather than as a basting medium while the meat is grilling.

Gibson smoked whole chickens for three hours and to keep them from drying out, he devised the white sauce to dunk them in once they came off the pit and were held for service. He thought the fat in the mayonnaise helped them to stay juicy. 

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